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Diplomatic talks with China on to ban Jaish chief Masood: BJP to Congress

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China has been told that a “selective approach” cannot be adopted with regard to terrorism, the government told the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, adding that efforts are on at the diplomatic level to “remove the technical hold” to India’s move to ban Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar.

“China has been told you cannot take a selective approach on terrorism,” Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh said in the lower house of parliament during question hour.

Raising supplementaries, Congress member Gaurav Gogoi said the recent episode in the UN wherein China blocked India’s bid to proscribe the JeM chief was a “diplomatic defeat” for New Delhi.

He alleged this happened notwithstanding the number of foreign trips being made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“This should be taken as a warning signal,” Gogoi said and wanted to know why and how India’s “diplomatic arsenals are falling weak”.

The minister said all-out efforts are being made by the government of India so that the “technical hold” put by China is removed.

On April 1, China had blocked India’s resolution at the UN to name and outlaw Masood Azhar, who New Delhi has identified as the mastermind of the terror attack on the Pathankot air force base in January this year.

India had moved the 1267 Committee of the Security Council in February this year to add Azhar to the banned terrorists’ list.

Though China blocked the resolution putting it on “technical hold”, other global players like the US, Britain and France had co-sponsored India’s resolution.

Answering questions from members, including from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the minister said, India has been trying to get a permanent seat for itself in the UN Security Council but added that “it involves a long process”.

“Efforts are on since 1992 and by 2008 one round of attempts failed. From 2008 the second round of efforts is being made. We are in touch with all friendly countries, and major global players have favoured reforms in UN wherein India can play a major role,” he said.

China too from time to time has said that it favours India playing a big role in the world body, the minister said.

BJD member Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo said time has come for India to tell five permanent members of the UN Security Council that they no longer hold the “moral authority” over global polity.

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Rail Bhawan shut for 2 days after officials test Covid positive

However, if there is specific urgency that requires an official to attend office, specific directives will be given to the official concerned, the ministry said.

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Rail Bhawan

New Delhi, July 13 : The Railways Ministry will remain closed for the next two days as a matter of “precaution” after some officials were found to be positive for coronavirus, an official statement said on Monday.

“Some officials of the Railway Board have tested Covid positive during the rapid antigen testing camp organised at Rail Bhawan on 9th, 10th and 13th July, 2020. Accordingly it has been decided to close all offices at Rail Bhawan on 14th and 15th July, 2020 to carry out intensive sanitisation of rooms and common area,” read a circular issued by the Ministry.

During these two days, all officials will work from home. They are also asked to remain available not only through phone but other electronic means of communication.

However, if there is specific urgency that requires an official to attend office, specific directives will be given to the official concerned, the ministry said.

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Online Open Book Exam to begin from August 17, DU tells HC

The said affidavit has been filed in a batch of petitions led by one Anup, challenging the seeking of cancellation of examinations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Delhi University

New Delhi, July 13 : The Delhi University has informed the Delhi High Court that the online Open Book Examination (OBE) for final year students of all undergraduate and postgraduate courses, including School of Open Learning (SOL) and Non Collegiate Women”s Education Board (NCWEB), will commence from August 17.

In its affidavit filed before the court, the Delhi University has stated that the examinations would begin on August 17 and conclude on September 8.

“For such students who are unable to appear in the examinations in OBE mode remotely, it has been decided to conduct an additional phase of examinations through online/offline/blended mechanism, for the purpose of providing another opportunity to the students,” the DU said in its affidavit.

In its more than 160-page affidavit, the varsity informed the court that it would be conducting mock tests in two phases in order to make the students familiar with the OBE mode.

While the first phase of the mock tests would be held from July 31 to August 4, the second phase would be held from August 8 to August 12. There would be three sessions of mock tests per day in both the phases.

The university also made it clear that the facilities available in the colleges and the departments of the university will be made accessible to the students belonging to the persons with disabilities (PWD) category in general, and visually impaired (VI) in particular, so that the ICT infrastructure is available to the students with prior information during the scheduled examinations in OBE mode to be conducted remotely.

“Preparation will also be made for the conduct of another additional round of examinations (in online/ offline / blended mode) for those students who are unable to take the examinations to be held from August 17,” the affidavit said.

Evaluation of answer sheets would begin from the first week of September and will continue till the first week of October.

“The university will make best efforts to declare the results expeditiously. However, depending upon the number of students appearing for the OBE, it is expected that the declaration of results for different courses shall start from the first week of October and conclude latest by November 30,” the varsity said.

The said affidavit has been filed in a batch of petitions led by one Anup, challenging the seeking of cancellation of examinations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the last hearing, a division bench of the high court presided over by Justices Hima Kohli and Subramonium Prasad had directed the Delhi University to draw up a plan for conducting examinations for final year students.

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PM allows Priyanka Gandhi’s request to stay on in Lutyens’ bungalow for some time

Sources close to developments revealed that when the matter was brought to Modi’s notice, he said that her request most certainly be accepted.

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Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

New Delhi, July 13 : In a remarkably statesman like move, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has agreed to a request to allow Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to retain the 35, Lodhi Estate Bungalow for some time. Just when people thought there is witch hunt against the erstwhile first family of Indian politics, the PM”s move once again validated his large heartedness.

After the government directive to vacate the prime Lutyens real estate property in Lodi Estate, the Centre was approached to allow Priyanka Gandhi to stay there for some more time. Sources close to developments revealed that when the matter was brought to Modi’s notice, he said that her request most certainly be accepted.

Those who know Modi say that this is not the first time that he has gone out of the way and shown large heartedness towards a family that has left no opportunity to bad mouth him, demean him and use every trick out of the book to nail him. The general impression being that both sides have a visceral hatred for one another.

It was in 2011 when Sonia Gandhi had to travel abroad for health related treatment. That time, it was Modi who sent a bouquet of flowers to 10, Janpath. The Congress, which was keen to keep Sonia Gandhi”s travel plans a secret, was not only surprised but was also compelled to share details about Sonia Gandhi’s illness with the entire nation.

Back in August 2013, when the Congress-led UPA was in power and Modi was merely the campaign committee chief, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi fell ill. The nation saw a visibly unwell Sonia Gandhi being escorted out of the Parliament House, driven to the hospital.

Later on, she was taken home from hospital. That is when Modi Tweeted, “Glad to know that Sonia ji’s health is fine. Wishing her the best of health in future.”

He had also tweeted, “Concerned that basic medical emergency procedures were not used. Would have been better if wheel-chair or stretcher was used in the Parliament,” adding, “Considering her health, Sonia ji should have been taken to hospital in a well-equipped ambulance. Still, doctors are best judges.”

Old timers recall another incident from the past when a chopper ferrying Sonia Gandhi and Ahmed Patel developed a snag at Daman. Modi dialled Sonia Gandhi and offered all possible help to her.

When the NDA government came to power, Modi would make it a point to greet Sonia Gandhi at the start and end of every Parliament session. Such a practice continues even now. This is a basic courtesy that was never given to the NDA when the UPA was in power.

In August 2016, when Sonia Gandhi fell ill during a roadshow in Varanasi, Modi immediately enquired about her health. He also offered to arrange for a plane to bring her back to Delhi. The fact that Modi reached out to Sonia Gandhi, who was campaigning in his parliamentary constituency and using acerbic language, was not missed by people.

During the peak of the Karnataka election campaign, Rahul Gandhi”s aircraft developed a technical snag on the way to Hubballi. The Congress used this as an opportunity to taunt the BJP-led Central government for being inconsiderate towards the Gandhi family.

In the midst of such slander, and slap-bang in the middle of a tough and bruising election campaign, Modi called Rahul Gandhi and enquired about his well-being. He also ensured a proper DGCA probe was held on the issue.

The Gandhi family has considered Narendra Modi as an usurper of sorts — someone who has denied them a set of privileges they deserved. In contrast, Modi has always shown a larger heart when it comes to dealing with the Nehru-Gandhi family.

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